Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve 2009

It's funny how priorities change and how your social life changes as you get older and have kids. Five years ago, New Year's Eve was my favorite holiday. The clubbing, the partying, the drinking, the countdown to randomly kissing some stranger. Aah yes, that was the best.

Fast forward five years and I am with my daughter at my mom's house watching a marathon of America's Funniest Videos. Pathetic? Maybe. But it doesn't really bother me so much. I have to admit, last year was kind of tough. I just really wanted to go out and be with the holiday obsessed, but this year I am having fun chasing my daughter around the house trying to put a shirt on her as she screams, "But I like being naked, MOM!" (She has a tendency to spit the word "Mom" out like it is an insult.)

So, Happy New Year's to you and yours. However you chose to spend it!

P.S. My daughter and I set a trap of poppers on the front door so that when her Uncle and Auntie come home they will be dancin'.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas 2009

Weird things are still happening with this blog. It looks perfectly fine on my laptop, John's laptop, and my brother's laptop. Yet on my work desktop and my netbook, my posts don't show up on my blog's main page. Wonder what is going on that allows some computers to view my blog properly, and others not to. Anyone have an idea?

Back to life, I had mentioned that I would tell you about my Christmas. This was the first year that John and I made Christmas dinner. It was also the first holiday that my mom didn't have to cook so for her, no matter how mediocre the food was, she truly enjoyed this Christmas.

When I say that John and I made Christmas dinner, your knees should've buckled beneath you from shock! John and I aren't cooks. I have a handful of dishes that I can make without a recipe and John has maybe two handfuls. Don't get me wrong, whatever John makes is always yummy, but we really don't cook.

So, Christmas morning, John and I head to the grocery store (I don't recommend grocery shopping on Christmas - it was insane!). While at the store, I had mentioned to John that it sure would've been nice if one of us knew how to cook a ham. His response? There's no time like now to learn!

Uh, actually, John, there are better times to learn how to cook something new other than Christmas day, but whatever, it's his show. So, there we are on aisle 12 and John calls his mom over in Maryland asking how to bake a ham. His mom gives us some tips and, lo and behold, we have a beautiful, delicious ham!

Among other things that we made: deviled eggs, pigs in a blanket, stuffing with cranberries and water chestnuts, hashbrown casserole, fried chicken and corn on the cob. Have I mentioned that all this food was for four adults and one child?! The food was definitely not your traditional Christmas dinner, but it was stuff that John and I knew how to make.

The result of this hard work? I am happy to report to you that no one got sick from food poisoning and overall, the food was delish!

This holiday season definitely was detrimental to my weight loss goals, but there is always the New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Julie & Julia and LC Too!

I just got done watching Julie & Julia. Surprise, surprise, I run to my computer and start up my blog again after a week's absence.

I really enjoyed this movie, and I think it would be a wonderful movie for anyone that is an avid blogger or someone who wants to publish a book. It is inspiring. I almost wish that I had watched the movie on New Year's so that I could kick off the new year with some motivation!

But this will have to do.

I have this entire week off of work and I had such visions in my head of writing for seven days straight. Unfortunately, life got in the way and I haven't done any writing; I mean, just look at the gap between this post and the last one. A lot of it has to do with the holidays. Like everyone else, it has been a busy time for me, getting ready for Christmas and all (I will tell you all about it soon).

The one non-Christmas thing I did manage to do was pick up my held copy of Lauren Conrad's L.A. Candy. I have been so curious about it, just not enough to actually go out and buy the book. I was super excited when I got an email from the library that my book is ready to be picked up. I started reading it today at the gym. I was a little embarrassed, being a nearly 30-year-old holding a book by LC of Laguna Beach/The Hills fame. It is pretty hard to hide the fact that it is her book seeing as how her name is in 72 font on the front cover and her face is plastered over the entire back of the book.

But dammit, if my book got published, I would stick a poster size picture of my face on the back too!

So I started the book and got to page 37 before I was interrupted. I would like to declare that, page for page, I am pretty sure my book is better than hers. There, I said it - my book is better than LC's! But, she got her book published. Game, set, win - LC. I am still going to read the entire book (even though I am bitter) because it is good research for my second novel.

Let's see how much LC can teach me.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Testing, testing. Blog, where are you?

Weird things are happening with my blog. I can view all my posts just fine at home, but all of my posts have suddenly disappeared when I am viewing it at work. Ok, so maybe work isn't the best place to look at my blog, but whatevs!

Since I started my blog, my damask background doesn't show up at work. All I can see is a black background with pink borders. Hopefully, this is only a problem at my work and you are looking at something a little more attractive than a plain black background.

Let me know if you can't see my posts anymore, I will have to contact Blogger help if it is an issue outside of my workplace.

On another topic... I have finished posting the first two chapters of Mix Tape. I know it needs a lot of work but, I hope that it was at least an entertaining read. Who knows, maybe I can revamp this bad boy and eventually get it published.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Mix Tape, Chapter Two - Part Three

It is a night full of dancing, laughing, and talking. I had two more beers, but decided not to get too wasted. Gigi will want me to fill her in on all the stuff that happened after she passed out. Luckily, there aren’t any other mishaps, but that would probably be because Mason is never around to witness it. And trust me, I took note of where he was all night, and not once did I ever see him alone.

I head over to the bar and Jaden looks at me. “Hey, it’s the lady of the hour!” A loud whoop resounds from around the bar. “What can I get you sis?”

“Oh a Coke would be great, I am dying of thirst!”

“A Coke?! Come on Nori, be a daredevil while you can. How about I mix something special for you?” Without waiting for my ok, he makes me some kind of pink concoction. “Pink, your favorite color!” He hands me the drink and I look it over with wary eyes, “Go ahead, try it. I am sure it’ll be great!” He looks so proud of himself that I can’t help but take a swig.

Good God! I almost vomit in my mouth. It tastes like pure rubbing alcohol with maybe a drop of fruit punch in it to make it pink.

“Yum!” I force the liquid down as it burns my throat. “I’ll just take this over here, I need some fresh air.” I start backing up towards the glass door and head out into the cool night air. As soon as I am out, I look at where the best place would be to throw my drink out. I decide that one of my mom’s dying plants could use a bit of extra liquid and gingerly spill my drink out.

“Ouch, Jaden would be hurt if he saw that.” I jump in surprise because I hadn’t heard anyone come up behind me. Also, because I didn’t think I would hear Mason’s voice addressing me again tonight.
“Oh, well, did you try this monstrosity? It’s awful!”

“Yeah, it didn’t look like you were enjoying your drink. I got a beer for you earlier,” Mason says, “but when I came back to give it to you, you were, umm, talking to some guy. It got warm so I threw it back in the cooler and got you this instead.” Mason hands me a bottle of water.

My pulse picks up a little. Has he been keeping an eye out for me tonight too?!

“So, who’s the guy? Friend? Boyfriend?”

I take a huge swig of the water and it is delicious. “You mean Carter? Friend, definitely just a friend.” I smile at him.

Mason cocks an eyebrow and says, “You know, they made a song about that. About a guy that is ‘just a friend.’”

I pause wondering what song he is talking about. He notices my hesitation, “Might be before your time.” Then he starts to hum a melody that everyone knows.

“No, not that kind of friend.” I quickly explain, and add, “Before my time? How old are you?”

“Same as your brothers, 17.”

“Well, if Biz Markie is before my time, then he would still be before your time as well.”

He nods at that, then changes the subject. “Looks like you have finally started to enjoy your party. Seems like you have been dancing all night.”
Holy cow! He has been keeping an eye out for me! Ok, play it cool Nori, play it cool!

“Yeah, it’s cool. It’s too bad Gigi, you know, my best friend you carried upstairs earlier, isn’t sober enough to enjoy it with me. She will want me to tell her all the details tomorrow.”

Mason smiles at me, my heart skips a beat, and he says, “Let’s head inside and give you another detail to tell your friend Gigi.”

“Sure!” I say a little too enthusiastically. Mason notices and laughs. Damn, what I should have done is shrug carelessly and said, “Whatever.”

We head back inside and to my surprise, Mason grabs my hand and says, “Come on, let’s dance.”

I feel a shock start at the point of contact and reverberate through my entire body, down to the tips of my toes and fingers. Good God, am I really so shallow to fall for a guy so fast? I am so pre-occupied with his hand holding mine that I just follow him wherever he leads me.

Yup, I am that shallow.

Once he finds a place to dance, he turns to me. It takes me a moment longer to come out of my shock and start moving to the music with him. We start dancing in time to the start of a new song. I remember the group’s name because it is an odd one: The Ghost Town DJs.

Boy you should know that
I've got you on my mind
Your secret admirer
I've been watching you

He ends up being a great dancer. His body is so fluid and smooth in its movements and we seem to, well, groove so well together. I had seen him dancing with someone earlier and he moves better than any of the other guys that go to my school. I know that the way I am looking at him is based on someone completely biased though – he is just so perfect! It makes me feel so common and boring next to him. I am giddy with the bit of alcohol still in my system and having Mason next to me. My brain tells me to enjoy this moment because it will probably be the last time that I have the attention of this beautiful gray-eyed boy. I start to mentally scrapbook everything that is happening: his hand on my waist with my back to him, us swaying and moving in rhythm to the music. The song we are dancing to starts out slow then moves to a faster chorus.

These feelings I have for you
Can go deeper if you can come
Correct with your game boy (no, no)
No you can’t be lame boy
But if you can please me
Then my love will come easy
I'll do anything you want
Freak me boy, I'm thinking of you.

I notice the appropriateness of the song and I throw my head back and laugh.

Mason gives me a quizzical look. “What’s so funny?”

I am too embarrassed to tell him the truth, so I just say, “Nothing, I am just having a really good time.” He accepts this and his questioning look is replaced with his beautiful smile.

At night, I think of you
I want, to be your lady, baby
If your game is on give me a call boo
If your lovin's strong, gonna give my all to you

“Do you know the name of this song?” I ask Mason, wanting to know so that I can tell Gigi every minute detail of this dance.

He listens for a few seconds. “Oh, it’s this new group I think. Can’t remember their name, but the song is called ‘My Boo.’”

Towards the end of the song, Mason turns me around and we are facing each other. This gives me another opportunity to admire his face. I wonder what it is like to be as beautiful as he is. I bet he leads a charmed life. As I am contemplating what it is like to be a beautiful version of the opposite sex, a slower song starts. It is one of my all time favorites from last year.

Your lips, your smile, your tenderness
Ooh baby
The way you walk
I can't resist your style

We both stop moving, and I take this as my cue that we are done dancing for tonight. I fear that my Cinderella moment is done.

“Well, thanks for the dance, that was great. Umm…” I trail off, not really wanting to leave, but too shy to ask for another dance. I smile at him and take a timid step back.

Mason rolls his eyes at my bashfulness and pulls me into his arms. “You’re not really trying to get away so soon are you? Trying to get back to, what’s his name, uh, Carter?” He winks at me, and I playfully hit him across his chest. His perfectly muscular chest. Oh, swoon! “How about one more dance? I like this song.”

How can a man like me
Convince a girl like you
To be his lover and one and only
How can I make you see
That I'm the one for you
And nobody does it like me, baby

I take another mental note of the song playing so that I can remember this moment forever. Perfect boy, perfect song – nothing could ever be this perfect again. My hands are on his shoulders and his are at my hips. I dare to look at his eyes again and drown. His perfectly gray eyes. I look at the rest of his face and know that I must look like a troll next to this boy. I have never considered myself ugly but I am not overly attractive either. I am no Gigi. At least half of the girls here are more attractive and could probably hold their own better next to this boy.

“What are you thinking about?” Mason asks me, taking me out of my trance.

“That I must look like a troll next to you.”

Mason laughs out loud and I clamp my hands over my mouth. I can’t believe I actually told him exactly what I was thinking! I was just so wrapped up in the moment that I didn’t really stop to filter.

Mason pulls me a little closer. “You don’t really hide much do you?”

"I can’t believe I just said that.”

“Believe me, you are the farthest thing from a troll. You are a princess in the fairy tales full of only ugly step sisters, ugly ducklings, and wicked witches.” Mason says to me playfully. Oh this boy really does know how to reel ‘em in. Even though I know he is just teasing, I can’t help but want to believe what he is saying. My mind just wants to believe it so badly.

I blush at what he says and look away from his eyes, not really knowing where to look, I rest my gaze at my hand on his shoulder. We sway back and forth, dancing to the music as the chorus comes on.

Hey pretty girl (hey pretty girl)
Can I be (Can I be)
Your man tonight, baby
Hey pretty mama (hey pretty mama)
Can I sleep (can I sleep) with you tonight (tonight)

After a moment I look back at him and ask him, “So, what are you thinking about?”

“The music.” He simply states. My eyes drop to his perfect mouth as he forms the words. I know that I am staring, but I can’t help it. I have never been so drawn into a boy before. Is this what it is like to really crush on someone? I have had crushes before, but I have never felt this drawn to my previous crushes.

There's a candle that's burning in my heart tonight
And the flame is full of my desire
And I can't help but desire you in my bed tonight

I tell myself that it has to be the music and the atmosphere and the little bit of alcohol I consumed tonight that is making me so crazy, because before I know it, I am leaning into him and aiming for his mouth. Slowly, with enough brain power to watch for any sign of retreat from him, I start inching my lips toward his. He seems to be accepting what I am about to do, so I continue my slow approach on him. I have never initiated a kiss before, not that I have had all that much practice, so I am hoping I am reading the signs right.

I am mere centimeters away from his face when I feel one hand move to the small of my back and the other moves up to cup the back of my head. He gently pulls me to him, impatient with my approach, and his lips touch mine. It is a soft, tentative kiss. His lips are soft, moist, beautiful. He pulls away a little after the peck.

We seem to have stopped dancing at some point, but my brain is mush in my head so I don’t know for sure. I look into his agonizingly unique eyes and know that I have to have more than that soft peck. I havve to take advantage of this moment. I put my hands on either side of his face, go up on my tip toes, close my eyes and kiss him again, softly. I rotate my head and kiss him again. And again. I pull back a little and tentatively touch my tongue to his lips. I feel him suck in a deep breath. My knees are about to give out, but I don’t really care. I push into him a little more and he reciprocates. I push my tongue past his lips and into his mouth. Mason’s hand at the small of my back clenches. If this moment never ends, my life will be complete.

Surely there has never been a kiss like this in the past. Or even in fairy tales or romance novels. This is too exciting, too soft, too wonderful. This kiss. The word “kiss” has never meant so much before. It sounds so perfect for this moment, it is such a strong and soft word at the same time. Kiss. I am so consumed with my thoughts and what is happening, that the word actually leaves my mouth, “Kiss.” I sigh out loud, as if to make sure the word existed.

Slowly, I come back down to earth and realize that another random song is now playing. In the back of my mind I know that my moment is about to end. Eyes still closed, I ease myself away from him then look up. He has this dazed look on his face too, as if he can’t believe what just happened.
“I, uh –” Mason starts, but gets cut off when someone calls my name. He looks up and the spell is broken.

I turn around to glare at the person that interrupted whatever brilliant thing was about to come out of Mason’s mouth. Of course, it is good ole Carter.

“Hey girl, I have been looking for you everywhere. How about a dance, cupcake?” Carter asks me.

“Um, uh, well, I am actually dancing with –” I turn around to point to Mason, but he has disappeared. Damn.

“Are you ok, Norielle?” Carter asks me.

“No.” I simply state, and I know this to be true. My life will forever have an imprint of the past few moments. It was, in a word, bliss.

***End of Chapter Two***

Friday, December 18, 2009

Mix Tape, Chapter Two - Part Two

After a few minutes, I walk out my door and pause. The hallway is full of people and no one harasses me. Gigi was right, my show of exhibitionism is forgotten as the rowdy crowd partyies on. I notice that the floor is still wet though and decide that before anything else crashes down, I should look for my brothers to clean up the mess.

I am making my way through the crowd and realize that there are more people in this house than would probably be allowed by the fire marshal. After shoving my way through bodies and red plastic cups, I find Jaden in the corner in what appears to be a heated discussion with Melora. He looks like he doesn’t need to be bothered right now. I stand on tip toes and try to look over everyone’s heads for Christian. I see him in the middle of a group of guys and walk over to him.

“Hey Christian.” I try to get his attemtnion. It is nearly impossible to hear over the noise of rap music. He doesn’t appear to hear me, so I inch closer.

“Hey Christian!” People start to crowd around and I push forward.

“Christian!” Finally, he hears me, but so does everyone else he is talking to and they go silent.

“What’s up, Nori?” He slurs out.

“Can I talk to you for a sec?”

“Sure, sure.” He manages. Christian comes over to me and puts his arm around me. “Hey guys, this is my little sister, Nori. She just turned 15, isn’t she the sweetest thing ever?” Christian mortifyingly pinches my cheek like I am a two-year-old.

A voice I was recently introduced to then says, “Hey, Halle.”

I look in the direction of that voice and see the boy that had accidentally stumbled into my room looking for the bathroom.

“Huh?” Chris asks in confusion. “No, it’s Nori. Naw-rhi.” Chris tries to drunkenly sound out my name.

“Oh, right.” The boy says, winking at me. For the first time, I notice that he has the most amazing eyes I had ever seen – I know, it’s cliché, but they really were insanely unique. They are the same eyes that I noticed earlier, and they are a pretty shade of gray that I didn’t know existed. The color is actually almost a blue-gray and they are rimmed with the dark, long lashes that every girl wishes they were born with. I look at the rest of his face and note that he has a pleasant, inviting face. He has a square jaw, just like all the hot movie stars, and a perfect straight nose. He has a full mouth that is just shy of being feminine, and dark hair that is a beautiful contrast to his light gray eyes. He is gorgeous. In the back of my mind, I hear the word heartbreaker associated with this boy.

“Nori, hey, you there sis?” Christian pulls me out of my admiring reverie. I notice that Gray (as I have momentarily named him) is looking at me with a slight blush staining his cheeks.

“Looks like you pulled another one in, man.” Someone says.

I realize they are talking about me. Obviously my admiring stare isn’t invisible to anyone. But it sounded like he got that a lot.

“Yeah right. This is my little sister Norielle, she is 15, she is hands-off to all you fools!” Christian points his fingers to all the guys in the circle. “Actually…” Christian jumps on top of the counter and whistles to get everyone’s attention. It is so loud from the music playing that only a few other heads turn to look (thank God!). “Hey everyone, this is my little sister, Norielle. It is her birthday, and that is why we have all come to gather at this fine festivity. Isn’t she the cutest little thing?!” Then Christian bends down and, again, pinches my cheek. A round of laughter fills the room.

As Christian is bending over pinching me, he loses balance and starts to wobble. “Whoa, whoa.” He stammers out, right before I step out of the way to let him land on his face with a satisfying thud. Good, serves him right! I snicker to myself.

I bend at the waist and say, “There is a huge watery mess in the living room that needs to be mopped up. Happy cleaning!” I saunter away with a fine feeling of redemption.

Downstairs, my party has become quite the rager as well. There are at least twice the amount of people now than there were earlier. It seems like there are a ton of people that I didn’t know, but when I look harder I notice that people from upstairs have come down. I am surprised to see that both parties are starting to intermix.

“Hi, sweetie! You made itahhh!” Gigi breathes the last word in my face and a very potent mixture of beer and vomit waft my way.

How long have I been gone?

“Oh, Gigi, what have you been doing while I was away?” I ask her as I wrinkle my nose and shoo the smell away with an exaggerated wave of my hand.

"Oh the greatest thing happened! Derek and I were talking and talking – hiccup – and then suddenly we started making out – hiccup – and then I ran to the bathroom – hiccup – and I puked and he held my hair – hiccup – isn’t he amazing?!” Gigi slurs out.

“Yes, sounds like the making of a great love story.” I sweetly say to her.

“Where have you been – hiccup – anyway?” She asks me.

“Oh, I had to make sure everything was alright upstairs.” I pause and look around me before I say, “Oh, you will not believe it. I saw the HOTTEST guy ever. I swear, he had these eyes that you could just, I don’t know, like, get lost in. They were gray, but not like a cloudy day gray, more like –”

“Like a light blue-ish gray?” Gigi finishes for me in a dreamy kind of way.

“Yeah, how did you know…” I trail off when I see that she isn’t really looking at me anymore. She is looking past me, up the stairs.

I turn around, slowly, hoping that there is just air behind me – I have never been that lucky. Right behind me is Gray and a bunch of his friends. I pray up to the high heavens that he didn’t hear me. That the noise from the music and chatter and laughter had drowned out my obsessive monologue about the most beautiful eyes that I have ever seen.

Gray comes up to me and says, “I have heard them described as steel colored, if that helps.” Gray gives me another wink. “Hey, we didn’t really get introduced earlier. My name is Mason.”

Ah, Mason is his name. What a beautiful name for a beautiful boy.

“Umm, hi!” I wave at him, but it is an awkward wave where my arm is suddenly glued to my side and just the joint at my elbow is working, allowing my forearm and hand to rotate in a circle.

Mason cocks an eyebrow at the awkward gesture.

“I guess you are just determined to be around all of my embarrassing moments tonight?” I ask him sheepishly. He flashes his orthodontically perfect, pearly whites at me and my knees almost buckle.

“Geeze, Nori, you really know how to – hiccup – pick ‘em!” Gigi sloppily says to me.

“Gigi!” I exclaim as Mason laughs. I hurriedly say, “Sorry, she doesn’t know what she is talking about, she is drunkedy-drunk-drunk!”

“Um, Nor, I am not feeling so well – hiccup – could you – hiccup – ” I look at Gigi and her face has turned green. Forgetting about Mason, I panic a little then grab her hand and run, no fly, through the glass doors on the other end of the room. We make it with just enough time for her to stick her head around the corner and puke her guts out. Like the loyal friend that I am, I hold her hair out of her face and I turn my head away trying to control my own gag reflexes. After a good five minutes of puking, and then three more minutes of dry heaving, she collapses on the floor and starts crying.

I crouch down beside her. “Are you ok Gigi? What’s wrong?”

“You held my hair too.” She looks up at me with the most pitifully delirious face.

“Yes.” I say, not quite sure where she is going.

“You’re such a good friend. I just love you so much.” She pats my face, none too gently, then starts snoring. I sigh and try to pick her up and move her off of the cold ground. Gigi is a pretty slim girl, but with her passed out and limp like this, I can’t pick her up. I think about going to get Derek to help me out, but I don’t want to leave her out here alone and unconscious.

I switch positions and try to heft her onto my back. I manage to get into a standing position, with her on my back and her feet dragging. Although we are no more than five feet from the door, I feel myself start to sink lower and lower as Gigi weighs me down. I try to straighten, but my right leg gives out and I fall, face first, onto the ground with Gigi still snoring on my back. I am breathing so hard at this point, that I decide to take a break in the odd position that I have found myself. This is the second time tonight that I end up lying underneath my best friend.

Must be karma for letting Christian fall on his face earlier.

I hear the glass door open and a mixture of embarrassment and thankfulness comes over me. Embarrassed at the position I am in, but thankful that help has arrived –until a now familiar voice says, “I guess I am determined to be here for your most embarrassing moments.” Mason says. “Do you need some help? Or were you purposefully lending yourself as a mattress for your friend?”

“I believe that I am in desperate need for some of your brawn right now.” I try to smile through the hair in my face. Mason picks Gigi up and I stand, swiping at my front to remove the dirt stuck to me.

“Where do you want her?” Mason asks me. I look over at him and he is holding Gigi, with one arm supporting her back and one under her knees. One of Gigi’s arms is draped over Mason’s shoulders and the other is in her lap. Although Gigi is passed out, I have never been more jealous of my best friend as I am in that moment where his arms are around her.

“Umm, I guess my room. Can you make it all the way upstairs?” Really, he looks like he could stand there all day holding Gigi’s weight, but I thought I should ask anyway.

“Yeah, she is light as a feather, just lead the way. Well, I guess I have already been to your room, but better you are with us in case your friend comes to. I don’t want her to wake up and freak out with a stranger putting her in a bed.” He smiles his heart stopping smile and I know in that instant that if I were to wake up with him putting me in a bed, freaking out is the last thing I would be doing.

I lead the way through the downstairs crowd, which seems to be ever growing, and up the stairs. I weave through more bodies, constantly checking behind me to make sure that Mason is following, but he seems to be having an easy time of it. We finally reach my room and I open the door for Mason to bring Gigi in. I pull the covers from my bed as he lays her on top. Then each of us grabs a foot and we take her shoes off.

“Thank you so much for bringing her up here. I don’t know how long we would have been out there if you hadn’t come out.” I say.

“Sure, no problem.” He whispers, being mindful of Gigi sleeping.

“You don’t have to whisper. She is knocked out for the rest of the night.” I explain to him. This isn’t the first time I have been in this situation with Gigi.

He smiles then says, “Why don’t we get outta your room and enjoy your party then?” This time he leads the way out and to my surprise, he heads downstairs. At this point, the party has been going on for a few hours and is in full swing. A lot of people are enjoying themselves, and I realize that I have missed most of my party.

“Looks like everyone is having a good time.” I say to Mason, “I missed most of the party with all of my, um, issues tonight.”

“Oh, this is quite the party. But I hear the Reyes twins always throw a mean party. Happy Birthday, by the way.”

“Why thank you, Gray –, uh, Mason.” Crap!

Mason pauses at the name, then looks at the bar. “So, looks like your brother has made himself the bartender. Do you want a drink?”

Thankful that Mason ignored my slip-up, I look over and sure enough Jaden is behind the bar, serving some sloppy drinks. The liquor cabinet is still locked but it looks like that didn’t stop them from getting alcohol.

“Sure,” I reply to Mason, “but nothing that Jaden has to actually make. Maybe a beer?” I clarify.

“Got it, I will be right back.” I watch Mason walk towards the bar and throw a hi-five at Jaden. I wonder to myself what he would think if he knew that his friend is getting a drink for his sister.

Just then, someone steps in my field of vision and I look up. “Hey Norielle, raging party!” It is Carter Green, one of the many new people that I met this year. I remember thinking he was cute when I first saw him but as the days passed, he proved himself to be quite the meathead. He is nice enough, and flirted with me all the time, but I just wasn’t interested after all the bonehead things he would say.

“Hey, Carter. Thanks!” I say to him, hoping he will disappear by the time that Mason comes back.

"Yeah, definitely the biggest party that I have ever been to. Nice selection of tail here I’d say.”

See what I mean? Complete meathead.

“Right.” I don’t even know what to say to his comment except, “Is there anyone catching your eye right now? I could try to hook you up.” I smile at him.

He apparently takes that as an invitation, and puts his hand against the wall on my right side, leaning into me. Then he says, “There is one that I’m interested in.” Carter stares deep into my eyes, going for that smoldering look, but he just manages to make his features all contorted.

I roll my eyes at him and say, “Oh Carter, I am not your type. You need someone that is more fun. Maybe a hot blonde! You know there was this girl upstairs that totally looked like your type!”

“Pretty is my type, and girl, you are beautiful.” He smiles at me and I have to admire his confidence. Not a lot of boys my age have the guts that he has.

“Aww, thanks. Umm –” I have run out of polite ways to turn him away. Luckily, I hear a girlfriend call my name. “Oh, looks like someone is paging me. Hey, enjoy the party Carter I’ll talk to ya later!” And I book it out of that conversation as fast as is polite.

While I am on my way to the group of friends that caught my attention, I try to slyly look for Mason. To my dismay, I see that he had gotten derailed and is talking to some other girl – nothing spectacular to look at, but I am still irritated. Earlier words come back to me: looks like you pulled another one in, man. I can totally see what the boys were talking about earlier. The girl Mason is talking to looks so blatantly into him. I know that I have just met him, but I can’t help but be a little jealous. I had the attention of, I am sure, the hottest guy here and I couldn’t keep his attention long enough for him to get me a drink. I sigh and, despite my jealousy, start to finally enjoy my party with my friends.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mix Tape, Chapter Two - Part One

Chapter 2
1996 – Meeting Gray

I had just turned 15 and reflected in my mother’s eyes is an emotion that can only be described as bittersweet.

“I’m just so proud of the woman you are becoming. Goodness, I can’t believe my little girl is in high school already!” She had told me when we were at my family birthday dinner. It was times like these that I wish I wasn’t the only girl in the family.

My mother and I are close, just not as close as we used to be, but that’s a part of growing up, right? I mean my mom can’t be my best friend forever. Unfortunately, it is worse with my dad. He isn’t as expressive as my mother, but I can see that he feels like he is losing his little girl to womanhood and there isn’t anything he can do to stop it.

My parents are amazing people. They have everything I want when I grow up. My father is a marketing manager at a major bank and my mother is a kindergarten teacher. They both work hard for their well-to-do life, but they also know how to play hard. Everyone comments that my parents look so young because they are still young at heart, which my dad credits to meeting his soul mate. My parents are so utterly in love and openly affectionate with each other, even after all these years, that my older twin brothers get completely embarrassed sometimes. But never me, I like that they take such joy in each other. It gives me something to look forward to when I find The One.

So anyway, I am totally excited because my birthday party is tonight and it is my first high school party! As it turns out, I am throwing the first party of the year in my class. You’d think that there’s a lot of pressure to throw the first party of the year, but really I am setting the precedent. I figure it doesn’t matter if it’s the best party of the year; at least I am the first. Oh, and did I mention that the parents are out of town? Daddy happens to have a business trip to take in Paris, and Mom couldn’t pass up the opportunity. They are taking a romantic trip together and I am hoping that Mom will bring back some kind of Paris couture for me.

Since their trip was so close to my birthday, I decided to have a sleepover birthday party the weekend before they left. My parents thought the sleepover was my big 15th birthday party when, in fact, my girlfriends and I started planning my real party. By no means am I bad kid or a troubled teenager; my thoughts are that all teenagers must throw a party when the parents are out of town. It is like a rite of passage or something. Plus, it was just so easy to plan, especially since my older twin brothers are partiers: Christian and Jaden (who is going through a phase of wanting to be called “J.Rey” – as in a nickname for Jaden Reyes – he is very specific on the spelling) are two years older than I am and we get along surprisingly well. They still tease me, but not like when we were kids. These days they tease me about boys and it drives me insane! This is the first time in two years that we are at the same school again, and I was worried about how they would be, but they were fine and mostly kept their distance. Sometimes they almost seemed happy to have me around. My best friend, Gigi, thinks that they like the fact that they can keep an eye out on me.

I pick up the phone and call Christian, the troublemaker of the family. “Hey, you didn’t invite too many people, right? I am thinking that if each of us only invites 10 to 15 people then that would put us at the limit. Well, since you and Jaden – ahem – I mean J.Rey share the same friends, maybe you can invite 20 or so and that leaves me with more options. I mean that’s only fair since it really is my party and –”

“Dude, Nori, stop talking for a sec.” My brother interrupts me, “First off, quit calling him J.Rey. His name is Jaden, he isn’t some rap star.”

“But he yells at me when I don’t call him that!” I whine.

“And I will yell at you if you keep it up. Who would you rather have yell at you?”

“Neither.” I say under my breath, knowing full well that Christian has the worse temper of the two.

“What was that?” He baits me.

“Whatever, if Jaden yells at me, I am telling him you are blackmailing me!” I concede.

“Like I care. So, what did you call me about?” He asks me, having been sidetracked.

“I am just wondering how many people you invited, I am a little nervous that too many people are coming.”

“Oh, you can bet your spoiled little behind that there will be tons of people there. Since you are new to this high school thing, let me explain it to you.” Christian puts on his serious voice.

“Yeah?” I ask in anticipation.

“Let’s say you invite five people to a party. Well, once they hear that there aren’t going to be any parents, then those five people will spread the word, and twenty more will come. People you don’t know, people your friends don’t even know, will probably show up.” Christian finishes with an all-knowing air.

I inhale sharply, “Well, that can’t happen!” I start stammering, “M-maybe we should cancel. Or maybe w-w-we should just tell our c-c-closest friends! They wouldn’t invite unwanted guests or, maybe –”

“Right, Norielle,” Christian cuts me off. “The party is tonight. The word is already out. There is no canceling nothing.” Christian is so matter-of-fact that I know there is no use arguing with him anymore. “Man, this is going to be a rager! The Reyes Twins have added another to the party scene. The Three Reyes. Ha! I like it, this will be tiiight! Whoot Whoot!” He exclaims.

“Uh, yeah. Right, The Three Reyes. Party on, whoo hoo…” I trail off.

I hear Christian laugh on the other end. “Don’t worry little sister, it’ll be fun, you’ll see. I’ll get you over to the dark side soon enough. Muah ha ha ha!”

“Yeah, ok, bye.” I hang up the phone. I am really nervous now. I have never done anything this huge before. If my house gets trashed, my parents may never trust me again! Oh, why do I get myself into these situations?


The sound of my personal line jolts me back to reality. “Hello?” I ask, still a bit dazed.

“Norielle? Are you ok? You sound kind of out of it. Well, anyway, I am super excited about tonight! Derek Bryant is, like, totally coming and I heard he’s been asking if I was gonna be here! Can you believe it?! He is so wanting me to be there! Gosh, I still can’t believe you have the balls to throw a party like this with your parents out of town and all. I mean it sounds more like something I would do, but Miss Norielle Reyes? I mean, seriously, come on –”

“Gigi!” I interrupt her rant, “When are you coming over? I am in dire need of stress control right now! Are you still spending the night?”

“Now, ok, and yes!” I can always count on Gigi to keep up with my bouts of hysterical questioning. I hang up the phone and lay on my bed. I don’t even know what to do with myself. I look around and decide that maybe decorating will keep my mind off of the impending doom that a house full of wild teenagers are bound to cause.

I am pretty lucky that we have a great party house. We turned the basement into a huge rec room that has a pool table (which I never bother to use, unless it is to set my stuff down on) and an awesome entertainment center. My parents even had a bar installed for the Super Bowl parties that my dad likes to throw. The liquor cabinets, though, are always locked up, especially when they are out of town. If I haven’t made it clear yet, my brothers can’t really be trusted at home alone. They haven’t done any major damage, well, enough that we had to have the carpets replaced – twice. I am determined, though, that tonight won’t be like that. Tonight will be good, and my parents will still be able to trust the responsible one of the three of us – me!

I dump out the plastic bag from a local party store, and rolls of streamers in every color scatters onto the floor, along with tinsel and bags of balloons. I decide to start with the streamers, hanging them neatly over each window, the French double doors that lead to our backyard, the edge of the bar, and even on the floor length lamp. By the time I have gone through two thirds of my streamers, I have become so excited about the party that I forget about the unwanted guests showing up.

A knock at the door startles me out of my decorating trance. I walk towards the glass doors and Gigi is waving at me.

“Hey girlie. I rang the doorbell but no one answered. Wow, this place looks great! I hadn’t realized that we haven’t grown out of the streamers phase yet.” Gigi says when I open the door.

“Just because we are in high school doesn’t mean people won’t appreciate a festive atmosphere!”

“Oh it will be festive alright. Especially with your brothers and their friends! I can’t believe we will be at a party with juniors!”

“What about Derek? You have been crushing on him since 7th grade!”

“I know, I know. I am still keeping him as an option, but I think I need an older guy. What about you? Any new prospects in your classes? I still can’t believe we only have one class together!”

“I know, better one than none. As for boys, hmm…” I pause and start wracking my brain, going class by class.

“Ok, if you have to think that long about it, then we are obviously on a boy shortage! Maybe you will meet someone tonight. Come on, let’s go get hot!” Gigi pulls me off of the couch and we run upstairs to get ready.

An hour and a half later, I am just about as cute as I am going to get. At this point, Gigi and I have totally ransacked the bathroom with our huge collection of makeup, hair supplies and possible outfit choices. We survey the damage.

“Looks like two 15-year-old girls were getting ready in here,” Gigi giggles. “Ok, how do I look?”

I survey her outfit. She has on a bright yellow, fitted T-shirt with a denim cut-off skirt. She is totally one who could pull off that mini. If I could have anything of Gigi’s it would be her amazing legs! Of the two of us, Gigi has always been the more outrageous, exciting, and sexier one. I was always called cute, even pretty on a good day; but Gigi, well, she was never described anything short of hot. This never bothered me because our looks reflected our personalities. Gigi is tall at 5’7” and growing everyday. She has green eyes and bleach blonde hair that she is currently trying to grow out from “The Rachel” haircut she had gotten last year. She is slender, but never boney; curvy, but without an ounce of fat. Gigi had a rockin’ bod and she knew how to clothe it, much to her parents’ annoyance.

I always felt like my parents had it easy when it came to me. I am almost the polar opposite of Gigi. I am a mere 5’4” (always hoping for just one more inch!) and am heavier than Gigi, but I had more distinct curves on my hips and bust than she did. Thanks to my dad’s Spanish background, I had dark features: olive skin, brown hair and eyes. My hair is long, and always has been. When I was little, Mom always kept my hair long, but it was fine because I liked my hair; it is thick, shiny and has waves that are easy to style or tame.

Although Gigi and I were completely opposite in appearance, we compliment each other’s personality so well. She is wild but more realistic, while I am more responsible but dramatic. Gigi always appreciated our differences also. She once told me, “You keep me tame and I bring the excitement out of you. You keep me classy and I keep you down to earth. We fit.”

So, after I give her the ok on her the outfit, I survey her face next, which is an entirely different story. She is wearing at least an entire bottle of mascara and liquid liner, and the worst possible shade of eyeshadow for her green eyes. Being that Gigi and I have always been brutally honest with each other, I say, “The outfit is fab! But your makeup is hideous!”

“What?! But I followed the instructions from your stupid makeup book!” She shoves my “bible” over to me. I look at the picture and her work looks nothing like that of the girl in the book. On top of that…

“Gigi, are you totally retarded? You are in the costume portion of the book!” I almost die with laughter!

“Oh…” Gigi’s face turns beet red.

“Unless we are having a hippie party tonight, you better let me redo your face!” I slather a huge glob of crème cleanser on her face and start taking off her makeup. I use almost an entire box of Kleenex to get all the makeup off. It is a good thing that Gigi is naturally beautiful because she doesn’t know how to do her makeup well. I start reapplying her makeup with a much lighter hand and opt for a more suiting shade of aubergine eyeshadow. “All done!”

She looks in the mirror, “Holy smokes! You are so good at this! I really hope you do this for a living when you grow up. Ooh! Maybe you will do makeup for Hollywood and I will finally marry Jordan Catalano!” I giggle at the seriousness in her voice then we start cleaning up our mess.

Our favorite show was My So-Called Life and we were devastated when it got cancelled last year. Gigi more so than I, though, as she had her sights set on the brooding lead character.

“By the way, I love your dress! Is that the one that your parents gave you for your birthday?”

“Yes, it is!” I bask in the compliment that Gigi gives me because I feel fabulous in my new dress. I was shocked when I had opened my presents from my parents and found a pink lace dress that was both classy and sexy at the same time. The dress is a halter top that is lace over a solid, silk slip. The back of the dress is where the sexy part came in. The back was, well, non-existent! Although I am completely covered in front, everything from the waist up in the back is bare.

“I can’t believe that your parents got you that dress!”

“I know! My mom said, ‘See honey, we are hip parents, we know how to be down.’ Really, though, I think my mom got it without showing my dad.”

“Your mom does have great taste!”

“Yeah, I’m glad she isn’t too uptight. Hey, can you see panty line?” I turn around to give Gigi a view of my backside. It had been laundry day and I had a choice of boy shorts or the underwear I ultimately picked, which had a huge winking daisy sprawled across my behind.

“All clear in the rear!” Gigi gives me the ok. “Come on, let’s get back to decorating.” Gigi grabs my hand and leads the way out.

As we are coming out of the bathroom, my brothers come home with a couple of their friends in tow and they appear to be struggling with something.

“Hey, Nori. Hey, Gi.” Christian says as he passes us and heads towards the sliding glass door leading to the balcony.

“Hey sis.” Jaden yells. I look around him at the other boys and they appear to be carrying something huge in. I catch a glimpse of silver. “What is that?” I ask with trepidation.

“Just some party essentials. No biggie.”

“Wait, is that a – what! No way, a –”

Gigi looks around me and exclaims, “A KEG!”

Jaden looks at Gigi and does an exaggerated wolf whistle. “Well, well, are we trying to snag our first boyfriend tonight there Miss Williams? Lookin’ good!” Jaden loves to tease Gigi mercilessly and watch her face turn colors. Other people call him charming, Gigi and I call him obnoxious.

“Whatever, I have had boyfriends before you know!” Gigi retorts.

“Well, aren’t we all grown? So you have the boys lined up huh? I bet Derek Bryant is in that line? Oh, and it’s J.Rey now.” Jaden gives her his most charmingly obnoxious smile. Last summer, Christian and Jaden thought it would be funny to read my diary and it happened to have parts in it about Gigi’s undying love for Derek. Gigi was so furious when she heard my brothers knew.

Gigi glares at Jaden. “So, is Melora gonna be here tonight, Jaden?” Gigi asks, ignoring Jaden’s request to call him by his new nickname. I love Gigi, she can totally dish it out too.

“Please, I am done with that girl.” Melora is, well was, Jaden’s last girlfriend. “I am lookin’ for some new hotties tonight!” Jaden inches closer and suggestively says to Gigi, “You interested, Gi?”

Sometimes, Jaden’s teasing is more on the flirtatious side than it is a joke. But I always brush that thought aside.

Gigi comes around me and sashays towards Jaden. I know something good is about to come out of her mouth. From the look on Jaden’s face, he knows it too and can’t wait to hear it. “Someday, Jaden, I am going to walk by you and you are going to see that I have grown into the most beautiful girl you have ever seen. And you will only be able to wish you had the chance to be my guy.” Gigi blows him a kiss and walks down the stairs.

All the boys start laughing and start ribbing my brother. Jaden is nothing but smiles. I follow in Gigi’s path, wishing I could leave a lasting impression as she is always able to do.

A few hours later, my closest girlfriends are already over. Everyone is having a good time playing pool and even a few people goofing off dancing. We had moved the coffee table to the side to make more room and people are using the table as extra seating and the extra floor space as a dance floor. So far, everyone at my party is someone I know or at least recognize. Christian must have been trying to freak me out or something earlier; except, I can’t help but notice that there is a lot of commotion going on upstairs. I know my brothers and their friends are a rowdy bunch, but still.

“So, great turnout, don’t ya think? And it is still early yet!” Gigi comes up to me with two open bottles of beer in her hand and I take one. Ok, I know this is wrong, seeing as how I am only 15 and all, but I take it anyway. I wouldn’t be a regular 15-year-old if I didn’t give in to peer pressure, although I do recognize the lack of pressure involved.

“Look at all presents you got!” Gigi ogles my stack of underneath the pool table. Most of the friends that didn’t come to my sleepover had brought presents tonight. “I bet it is all makeup. You are totally gonna be in front of the mirror with that stuff for months, I can already tell –” Gigi suddenly cuts off as a loud crash comes from upstairs.

The entire downstairs becomes quiet and we hear a muffled uproar of applause with a resounding “PARTY FOUL!!!”

Gigi and I look at each other then bolt up the stairs. When we get to the top I begin to push open the door, but then I hear Gigi swear behind me. I turn around with just enough time to see the look of terror on Gigi’s face as she comes hurling towards me!

“Watch out!” Gigi yells right before she slams into me. The impact of Gigi landing on me just about knocks the wind out of me, and forces me through the partially open door. The next thing I know, I am lying on my back in the middle of the living room floor with Gigi on top of me, straddling my waist. We both look at each other and start cracking up.

“Holy shit, J.Rey and Christian got lesbian strippers!!!” A loud cheer of male voices drowns out the music. Gigi and I look up and see that we have landed in the middle of a huge group of people staring at us.

“Your brothers got strippers?” Gigi asks innocently. She is still on top of me, straddling my hips.

“Gigi, get off of me, they’re talking about us!” When she hears my explanation, she practically defies gravity as she leaps to her feet. “This is so embarrassing! What happened? Why did you push me?” I ask her.

“Sorry! I tripped.” Gigi explains as she grabs my hands to help me up.

As we stand up and straighten our clothes, there is a loud whoop and more clapping. I turn around and see all eyes on me. A flash of unusually gray eyes catch my attention for a quick second before I turn my head to look behind me at Gigi.

“What is going on?” I ask her.

Gigi looks up and opens her mouth to say something, but her eyes become huge and she throws her body up against my back. I immediately try to shake her off. “Gigi, I am really not trying to be the lesbian stripper here! Get off!” I hiss at her as the crowd gets louder at the fact that Gigi is all over me.

“Oh poor sweet innocent Nori, you don’t want me to get off of you. Your dress!”

“What about it?” Suddenly I realize that my back is wet. Weird. I look down at the ground in front of me and understand now what the loud crashing sound had come from earlier. The noise was the result of one of my mom’s gigantic vases falling from its stand and crashing to the floor. There are gladiolas all over the floor, swimming in the water from its vase, right where I landed.

With fool’s hope, I ask Gigi, “How much can you see?”

Gigi hesitates.

“How much?!” I repeat.

Before Gigi can answer, some asshole in the crowd says, “Dude, her ass was winking at me!”

“Ugh!” I groan in horror. Apparently, my choice of underwear is now visible through my wet dress.

I decide that I can’t stand here, the center of attention with Gigi stuck to my backside. To solidify my mortification, that same asshole in the crowd yells, “Come on Daisy, do a little dance!”

Everyone laughs at the joke and Gigi yells back, “Yeah, yeah. Shows over folks.” With that Gigi and I do an awkward shuffle towards my room as everyone goes back to drinking and partying.

When we get to my room, Gigi lets go of me and I immediately plop on my bed face down. “I’m never leaving this room!” I roll over onto my back. “If I could die of humiliation, it would be right this very moment.”

“Oh, don’t do that. If you die now, then people will bring bouquets of daisies to your funeral.”

I put a pillow over my head and pretend to sob into it.

“Come on, don’t be such a drama queen.” Gigi says. She decides to pour more salt in my wound when she adds, “Besides, ‘Daisy’ is a cute nickname.”

I throw my pillow at her and she catches it right before it hits her in the face. “Ok, truce!” She says then goes to my closet. “I need to borrow a top.” Gigi’s skirt is wet too, but she dries it with a blow drier then changes into a light green tank top from my closet. “Do you need me to help you find something to change into?”

“No thanks,” I reply. “I need a moment, can you check on everyone downstairs? I’ll be there in a minute.”

“Sure, but if you aren’t back in 20 minutes, then I am coming to look for you. Need to make sure you don’t jump out the window or something.” Gigi walks out of my room and closes the door.

I walk over to my full length mirror, and turn my back to look at the damage. The water made my silk slip completely see-through and, sure enough, the winking daisy is fully visible. I groan again in horror and take my dress off. I walk to my closet and try to pick something out.

Part of me wants to stay in my room and die of horror, but the other part doesn’t want to stay locked away while everyone has a good time. Finally, I accept that there wasn’t too much damage done as all of my friends were downstairs and missed my big debut. I pick out a new outfit and go back to my mirror to examine myself. I look at my hair in the reflection and try to figure out what I can salvage of my wet hair. I decide to just brush it out and blow dry it a little, noting that Gigi will be back any minute. Once my hair looks decent, I turn half of my body back towards the mirror and look at my butt.

As I had expected, my door opens and I say to Gigi, “You know if I had Halle Berry’s ass, maybe I wouldn’t be so mortified of everyone being able to see through my dress! But I guess Halle wouldn’t have worn daisy undies either. Oh well. So I picked out what to wear, but I don’t think there is any hope for my hair. Do you have any quick fix ideas, Gigi?”

“No, ah, sorry, I thought this was the door to the bathroom” A very male, very non-Gigi voice says to me.

I jump around to face my door and my cheeks start to burn because a complete stranger found me staring at my own rear end. What other awful ass stories will come of tonight? Tonight will be forever locked in my brain as The Night of the Ass. Whether that Ass is me or my rear end is open to interpretation.

I bury my face in my hands and give a muffled instruction, “Oh, you want the next door over.”

“I’m sorry, what was that?” He asks me.

I lift my burning face and tell him, “You want to go down one more door.”

“Thanks, sorry about the intrusion.” He starts to back out of my room, pauses, and opens the door again, “by the way, I would say that you come to a close second to Halle.” He winks and closes the door behind him.

Oh yeah, definitely The Night of the Ass.

Ready For Round Two?

I will post chapter two right after this post. However an explanation is required before I do so. In Word, chapter one is seven pages, double-spaced. Short enough to put in as one post. Chapter two, however, is 37-40 pages, double-spaced.

I know! Weird.

Since I was jumping between 2009 and 1996 in the book, I tried to make it clear by putting the flashbacks in its own chapters. Don't worry, it is no Time Traveler's Wife. It is not that intricate (or good!). 

To me, it flows better by separating the flashbacks and present time with chapters. The first half of the book focuses a lot on the past, then as the book progresses, the focus changes to present time.

So, the next post will be chapter two, but not in its entirety.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Great Concept, Bad Writing

I have gotten some really wonderful comments and suggestions on the forum that I had mentioned earlier. My blog readers have also provided some wonderful comments which I truly appreciate and cherish.

I follow Jenny Bent's blog and one of her interns, Mandy Hubbard, was a guest blogger the other day. Ms. Hubbard is the author of Prada & Prejudice and her backstory on getting her book published is pretty inspiring to me. It is an interesting read, so if you want to read it, go here.

After reading the post, I am faced with two options at this point (I warned you that I am a wishy washy person, always going back and forth):

1.) Put my book away and come back to it in a couple of years.
2.) Put the original book away. Open a blank Word document, keep the same concept and just start telling the story from scratch.

I am confident in the concept of Mix Tape, I have just been forced to understand that the writing isn't up to par. But the concept seems so current and something that people could really relate to. Plus, I am slightly superstitious and I see so many things with the mix tape theme. Like this, this, this, this - ok, you get the picture. It is everywhere! Pop culture is calling for my book!

If I go with the second option, I might try it in third person, past tense. However, I noticed a trend with chick lit books that they are generally written in first person, present tense. Hmm, Ijust don't know what to do. Any suggestions?

Here is a real mix tape USB stick at Wishing Fish. One of my friends thought I came up with the concept when she read my book. Nope, sorry, I am not that cool.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Mix Tape, Chapter One

Chapter 1
2009 – My Boyfriend’s Back

Should I play it?

Should I destroy it?

These two questions keep running through my mind as I finger the object in my hand. This object could either result in the long awaited ending to an era that seems another lifetime ago, or it could be the far-fetched second coming of a life I am not entirely sure that I want. This object holds my past and possible future. This life-changing object is (drum roll please!) a mix tape.

Well, at least I thought it was a mix tape. In this day and age, we have mixed CDs – but that doesn’t sound as romantic or nostalgic. With a mix CD, how romantic is the idea of making a playlist and hitting the burn button? It’s not, technology is making it too easy to be lazy about love. But a mix tape? Oh, with a mix tape, I can sense the time and energy it took to pick out your songs and put everything on a blank tape – constantly switching cassettes, recording and stopping, then doing it all over again to complete the copying process: record, stop, switch cassettes, record, stop, switch, record, stop, switch, turn to side B, record, stop, switch. Yes, a mix tape is much better.

Yet, this package is actually a clever way to combine the two formats: a mix tape and CD – but I am jumping ahead, because the CD doesn’t exist yet, what does exist is a flash drive. The packaging itself looks like a real mix tape. An old mix tape. There is even writing on the tape that says, “Play me on your computer or burn me onto a CD.” I am confused at first, but when I look closer, I see that the cassette is actually just a holder that opens. Inside the fake cassette tape is a flash drive. I smile at the ingenuity of this flash drive holder. How adorable. I think to myself. This must have been invented by someone from my generation, missing the good ole’ days. I imagine this is what my parents must feel like about their old 45s.

I insert the flash drive into my PC and pull up my media player, hoping a playlist will appear, but it simply lists the songs by track number. He did that on purpose.

Of course, I already know who the cassette flash drive is from by the picture on the cover. It is a black and white picture of my 15-year-old self looking at the most beautiful 17-year-old boy. It is the picture that his mother had taken of us, and it is a picture I know well. I pull out the cassette cover and open it up to see if there is a song list, but it’s blank.

I turn my attention back to the computer and burn the songs onto a CD, noticing that Track 12 is almost six minutes long. Huh, how weird. I wonder if he mixed two songs together. When the CD is done burning, I take the flash drive out and put it back in the fake cassette tape, snap that shut, then put the tape back in its case. I turn it over to look at the cover again and sigh. What a beautiful boy he was. I remember always thinking of myself as a lucky girl to have snagged him.

I turn the case over to examine it more and notice the spine for the first time; I stare at it in awe. This really is a home-made, catered-to-me, bon-a-fide mixed tape. The spine has a simple message – but that simple message is all it takes to put my heart in my throat:

A Mix Tape for Norielle

I still love you, Mason

I read the simple script again, slower. A Mix tape for Norielle. I still love you, Mason. That name had meant so much to me at one point in time. Hell, if I wanted to be honest with myself, it still meant a whole lot. Mason was my first serious relationship. He was my first love and the boy I decided to lose my virginity too – double whammy. We started dating when I was 15 and were together for a little over two years. In high school that was practically like being married; on the same note, when we broke up, it was just like a divorce. Since Mason, I have never been hurt as much as he hurt me. It had been devastating. And now he is back, sending me a mix tape.

Ten minutes pass as I sat there debating on whether or not I should play the CD I burned the songs to. Finally, I decide to save myself the potential stress wrinkle that may appear between my eyebrows and go for it. I open my hard drive and remove the freshly burned CD. My heart is beating hard against my chest. I walk out of my spare bedroom/office and head to my living room. I put the CD in the stereo system and the reader confirms that there are 13 tracks. I fight the urge to skip through all the songs, just to see what is on there. I could do that, but I know – I just know – to wait it out and listen to each minute of every song. I know to savor each moment because what I am about to listen to will probably bring back many memories. Memories I cherished and still live out in my mind, and memories that I have desperately tried to bury. This CD holds secrets shared between two people through poetry in the form of music.

I delay hitting the play button. I am pretty sure that I can figure out a few of the songs that are burned on that CD. I look at my watch – 1:23 p.m. I have a girl’s night out tonight. I am scheduled to be at my best friend, and sister-in-law, Gigi’s house at 5:30 p.m. Everyone else was probably told to be there at 6:00 p.m. but seeing as how I run on a different schedule than everyone else (I am horribly notorious among my circle of friends for being late), I am told an earlier time to ensure proper departure for our destination.

Tonight is our monthly ladies night, where Gigi and I get together with four of our closest girlfriends: Vanessa, my college roommate, Enid and Lily, from high school, and Bianca, Gigi’s roommate from college. Ladies night is something that we all hold very dear and promised each other that even when we were old and gray, even if ladies night changed from bar hopping and wine tasting to sitting around crocheting blankets in rocking chairs, that we would always keep our monthly get-togethers.

What would the girls think when they find out Mason contacted me?

I glance at the clock again and mentally dissect how I would divide the time I have remaining. Gigi lives ten minutes away from my apartment in Seattle, WA. It will take me probably an hour, no, one and a half hours to get ready – ok, ok, fine, realistically it will take me closer to two hours to do my girl’s night out regimen. That leaves me with about two hours to mull over the CD and listen to the songs.

My finger hovers over the play button as I ready myself for the emotions that I am sure will express themselves through tears. I imagine myself clutching the cassette case to my chest as I cry like a movie star in her Oscar winning performance (have I mentioned that I have a flair for the dramatic?). I hesitate a moment longer only to realize that I am acting like someone standing in line to the guillotine. I tell myself that I cannot let my emotions get the best of me, that this really should mean nothing to me. It is just a stupid tape from a stupid boy from an insignificant time in my life.

Insignificant my ass!

Suddenly I find that I am in the middle of a heated conversation with myself:

I will not cry.

Press the button

I will NOT cry.

Press the button already.

I will NOT CRY.

Press the FRIGGIN button already!!!


My finger drops away from the play button as tears start welling up in my eyes. I stomp my foot on the ground like a petulant child and abandon the stereo system. I head to the shower deciding to get ready first. If I am all dolled up, surely I won’t cry; I wouldn’t want to ruin my perfect, expensive makeup (let’s face it, the only couture I can afford is my little bottle of Christian Dior mascara, Shu Uemura eyelash curler and any other delectable morsel from Sephora – a.k.a. Heaven on Earth). That’s it. I have made up my mind – I wait.

I am in the bathroom and start to undress. I turn on the water and wait for the temperature to be just right. The bathroom starts to steam up as I stand watching the water pour out of the spout. My eyes immediately dart to the radio/CD player on my bathroom counter. Never had that inanimate object ever mean more to me. No! I will wait! I convince myself.

I hop in the shower and let the warm water run down my face and body. I turn up the heat to nearly scalding, and it feels great. Good job, Nori. Way to stick with a simple decision for once in your life. I reach for the shampoo and start to lather up, the scent of jasmine fills the steamy bathroom as my thoughts start to wander. The CD will be there once I get out of the shower. It will still be there when I am done getting ready. Hell, it will even be there after girl’s night out. Right. Ok.

Suddenly my body has a mind of its own and I rip the shower curtain open. I get out of the shower as fast as I can, boobs and booty free of any concealment. I run, yes run, to the living room on the other side of my apartment, get the CD out of my stereo system as fast as I can, then run back to my warm steaming bathroom. Unfortunately, what happens next teaches me, yet again, that I should have stuck to my first decision.

Since I had decided to run like a bat out of hell, and had not toweled off first, the floor was all wet and soapy. The moment my bare feet touch the wet floor, I slip and my legs come flying out from under me and – SMACK! – I land on my bare ass on the hard linoleum. I pause, ass throbbing and everything. Unbelievable!

I look up and notice that I am holding the CD in my right hand, which is thrust in the air as high as I can reach, holding on for dear life. One thought struck me as I sit in this degrading position: I am such an asshole.

Geeze, this is so typical of me! Once Mason has come near me in any way, I start doing the most embarrassing shit! I become a moronic, clumsy fool.

Getting cold, I decide to hoist myself up, carefully. I look back and am surprised that an imprint of my behind wasn’t left on the floor from the impact of my ungraceful landing. I put the CD in the player, take the remote with me and place it on the ledge next to my shower. I hop in the shower for the second time, head hanging low and a little disgraced this time around as I have just embarrassed myself in front of Jesus and any other paranormal beings that may have witnessed my little incident. I pick up the remote and hit play. I let the water and the music of track one wash over me.

Wow, he is really going to start at the very beginning.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

On second thought...

In an attempt to share my work with other writers, I wrote an entry in a forum at Absolute Write. I wrote about how I have this book that I love and want to share with the world and that I am posting it on my blog.

I have since received an overwhelming response of, "Don't do it, stupid, over-eager, beginner writer!" (Don't worry, responses were way nicer than that! But I get the picture.)

Because of their advice, I have chosen not to post my entire book on my blog. I know! I know! I haven't had my blog for that long and I have already broken a promise! Here is my compromise:

I will still post the first two chapters. At that point, if you would still like to read the rest of my book, I will be happy to email it to ya - just send me an email by clicking on my profile picture or "View My Complete Profile", then "Email".

If you are interested in reading the thread that changed my mind on posting my book, go here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Mix Tape, The Query

Ok, as promised, here is my query letter. I may be releasing the query a little early since I won't be releasing my book for another couple of weeks, but here it is anyway. 

Without further ado, the dreaded query: 

The 1990s was a great time for music. No. Correction, it was a fabulous era of music in all its blinged out, die for love, debut of Britney, pre-crazy Mariah glory. Music translates over languages and continents. It connects stranger to stranger and lover to lover. This is where the story of Norielle and Mason lies.

It is present day 2009 and Norielle Reyes receives a package. It’s from him, you know who it is. We all have him – the one that got away: meaning the one that left you broken-hearted and crushed. In this story, his name is Mason Shayne. He has the name of a movie star and the looks to match.

It’s been eleven years since their high school romance and Mason is trying to get Nori back by the one means that always connected them: music. It’s in the form of a mix tape – ok, it’s 2009, so it’s a mix CD, but that doesn’t have the same romantic ring, now does it? As Norielle listens to each song, she is taken back to the memories of high school in the 90s – when work was something only parents had to do, Jordan Catalano was in every girl’s dreams and throwing parties while the parents were out of town was a rite of passage.

At the end of Norielle’s mix tape, she is asked to make the ultimate decision of the heart: Happiness with the risk of being burned again? Or salvaging your pride and always wondering what might have been?

This chick lit is a funny, nostalgic, and heartbreaking tale of love brought together by a medium that transcends both time and distance.

I am introducing a book that stars Bridget Jones in The Notebook, all under a Billboards Top 100 soundtrack. Mix Tape is my first novel at approximately 75,000 words. Readers will relate to the popular songs included in the novel, taking them back to the time of first loves, high school romances, and – yikes! – teen angst. Simply stated, this book is a memory lane for readers to get lost in.

*End Query*

The closing of the letter would be specified to the agent that I would be sending the query to, followed by my signature with every possible piece of personal information about me that the agent would need to get in contact with me or steal my identity.

Hope Mix Tape sounds like a book you will want to read!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The "Why"

First things first: Welcome to December! I love December because Christmas is coming up as well as my baby's birthday. I also hate December because Christmas is coming up as well as my baby's birthday. Not because I don't like to celebrate these two occasions, but because it is super busy for me and a big expense month. So this is a debt drawback month.

However, I do believe it is all about attitude, so I am now officially getting into the spirit of things. So, again, "Welcome to December!"

My holiday movie suggestion of the week is Love, Actually. I watch this movie every holiday season. I warn you: I am one of those that watches the Sound of Music every year too. So just be careful about how seriously you take my movie suggestions.

The reason that I chose Love, Actually as my movie suggestion of the week is because I am *gettingthisclose* to posting my book on this here blog. My book is a total chick lit book, filled with humor and that all-encompasing emotion of love. I consider the one and only book I have written as my second child, so no novel bashing or I will delete your comments with my blog administrative powers from above!

Before I start posting my book, I figure that I give you a bit of background as to why I wrote a book when the most writing I had done since high school were Christmas cards.

Ok, here goes.

Two years ago I read a book. I hated this book. The reason I bought the book was because I really enjoyed the first book written by the same person(s). I am not going to say who the author(s) are/is because karma might bite me in the ass when everyone else reads my novel.

So I hated this book. I kept rewriting parts of the book in my head to make it more to my liking. The ending was so obnoxious that I mentally rewrote the ending too. I started thinking that I should just write my own book so that I won't have to alter this beautifully packaged and published book.

Write my own book? Hmm, ok. Why not? I shall write my own book.

In February-ish of 2008 I picked up my lap top, opened a word document, centered the first line and typed the words "Chapter 1".

I wrote the first fourteen pages in that moment. This was the longest I had ever written in one sitting. My high school papers were never more than seven pages long, nor were the papers I wrote in my short community college career.

With such great momentum going, I thought my book would be done within the month. Not so much.

Fast forward to December 2008. Washington is hit with some pretty bad snow storms and I am stuck indoors all day. I started and finished the last three books from the Twilight series, but I am still only fourteen pages into my own book that I have titled "Mix Tape", because for all of my creativity I cannot come up with a better title.

I start writing again and the pages just keep coming. By the end of January 2009, I have a completed manuscript.

Ta-da! A 75,000-ish worded novel randomly written by someone who hasn't written a paper since her tinkerings in community college.

There you have it: how I randomly wrote a book.

And now for a couple of disclosures:

1.) Mix Tape is full-on chick lit. If you hate gushy, lovey-dovey (but oh so humerous!) books, then just skip the posts with pieces of my book in it.

2.) Keep in mind that this is just a brain candy piece of work. It will not make you ponder the meaning of life. It is pure fun.

3.) By posting my book on my blog, I am not disagreeing with the literary agents that have rejected me. I am just showing off my Ugly Baby.

Ok, this post is a book in itself. I shall stop now.

Tomorrow, the query letter! Dun, dun, dunnnnnnnn!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Naughty or Nice? Let's go with naughty.

I must have been naughty this year because Santa isn't throwing any favors my way.

Yesterday, I bought my Christmas tree. It is Football Sunday at my house, and I know better than to ask John to do anything outside of a two foot viewing range from a TV on Football Sunday. If I wanted a tree right away, I was on my own.

Luckily, my brother was willing to go tree shopping with me since he mainly watches the Seahawk's games and doesn't mind just DVRing them.

So, off we go a tree shopping. My brother wanted to get his tree first but I insisted we get mine first since Bella was over at his house with Grandma and I would have to go get her in the end anyway. He agreed.

As my brother and the overly friendly tree guy are moving the tree to the car, I go inside to pay and tell the lady that I will be back in about a half an hour to buy another tree for my brother. "Oh, you are coming back?" she asks so sweetly. I nod. "Wonderful, let me have your name and we can give you a discount on your second tree."

Dammit! That discount should've been mine!

Oh well, get over it. I go back to the car and the overly friendly tree guy is "securing" the tree to the trunk of my brothers sedan. What the hell? This isn't how it was done last year. But what do I know? We roll with it.

Two minutes of driving and the tree is shifting way to much. I suddenly realize that there isn't anything keeping the tree from rolling off the back of his car because it is just tied to the spoiler. I start to voice this concern, but in the middle of my sentence the tree falls off the back of his car!

We are dragging my Christmas Tree!!!

We pull over and my brother hefts the darn thing back onto his trunk and has me sit in the back holding the twine. I am now the securer of tree-onto-trunk (this should be my Native American name). My brother and I are laughing because the whole scene is reminiscent of the infamous Home Funniest Video where the windshield wipers aren't working so these two ladies (or it could be men - all I know is that they are laughing like girlies) have tied string to each wiper and the passanger has been assigned the task of manually wiping the windshield.

Anyhoo, my tree makes it home without any other mishaps. Obviously I, Securer of Tree Onto Trunk, did a job well done.

We go back to get my brother's tree and he gets a $10.00 discount. Ten bucks?! That is Starbucks for a week! I am bitter. I don't hide my bitterness well. Especially when he got a tree that is twice the size of mine and for $30 less!

I refused to give him his $16 in change.

He tried to take his money back, but was unsuccessful. He realized that I wouldn't release his change so he suggested we buy lunch with the change. Ok, works for me. We go to a drive-thru and I order everything I can to stretch the $16 as much as possible. We finish our order and the drive-thru voice says, "Thank you, that will be $17."

Son-of-a-biznatch! Foiled again! I now owe a buck.

Have I learned my lesson yet? Nope.

My brother has an excess of Christmas lights. I ask him if I can have some so that I don't have to buy any new ones (I just moved into my own home earlier this year). He, obviously being the nice one, told me to go for it. I grab the lights that I know work and plug it in, just to be sure. All is clear.

Bella and I hang out for a while longer before we leave. I drive home and empty my car of all my Christmas stuff. I get in the house to prepare for decorating the tree. I start with the lights.

The lights?

Where the hell are my lights?!

Dammit! I left them at my brother's. He lives seven minutes away, so I trudge back to my car and go back to grab my lights.

I get back home and John peels himself away from the TV long enough to help me string the lights on the tree (which, by the way, he kept complaining about how when his mom did this, it was always a one person job). My intention was to make sure that the lights were on so that Bella could help put on the ornaments once she woke up from her nap.

Oh those good intentions.

Ok, lights are on. I go to plug in the lights to make sure I don't have any sparse areas. Ta-da! Lights!

Lights. On the bottom of the tree. Lights in the middle of the tree. NO lights on the top of the effing tree!

Dammit! Why, Santa? Why? All I want is a beautiful tree for my first Christmas in my beautiful new home. Have I really been that naughty this year?

*I just re-read this post and now realize that I deserve every bad thing that happened to me yesterday. I may (or may not) buy my brother lunch to make up for holding his change hostage.